January 2016

Aerosol art becomes shrine to David Bowie

An Australian street artist is honored that a mural of David Bowie he painted in 2013 has been chosen by London fans as an impromptu shrine to remember the rock star, who died Jan. 10, 2016 after an 18 month battle with cancer

Thousands of fans mourning the star have made the journey to Morley’s department store in Brixton in south London—where Bowie was born in 1947—to lay flowers and tributes at the foot of the giant Bowie mural which depicts him made up as he was on the cover of the hit 1973 album, Aladdin Sane.

bowie shrineStreet artist James Cochran, aka Jimmy C, who is originally from Adelaide, Australia, said the day he asked for permission to paint the wall outside the store, the classic Bowie hit ‘Jean Genie’ was ‘cranking through the store.’

Once just an aerosol expression of respect and admiration for Bowie, the vibrant mural has since become a worldwide phenomenon. Men and women made up with the ‘Aladdin Sane’ lightning stripe have wept in each other’s arms and tributes were piled high outside the Brixton mural as devoted crowds gathered to pay their respects to the beloved singer.

‘Before it was just a personal homage to a great artist… now it is going to become about that, about the legacy and about what he stood for,’ Cochran said.

‘His music always brought people together, but now, it’s really bringing people together,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

Thousands of mourners have laid flowers and candles beneath the artwork

‘People are putting down flowers and then they touch the mural … they touch his face, it’s special. The crowds in Brixton are united singing Bowie songs together.’

Three years ago, Cochran was making portraits of Bowie for exhibitions but being a street artist at heart, Cochran said the mural seemed better in Bowie’s first home.

‘It was apparent right from the beginning, from the moment I was painting it I had crowds of people crowding around singing Bowie songs in unison, all singing along as I was painting… that was a really beautiful atmosphere in itself,’ he said.

For the 42-year-old from Adelaide, he said people gathering around his artwork to remember the ‘fearless artist’ was particularly touching. ‘I am honored to be associated with that in any way… he was an artist I respected greatly,’ he said.  ‘I’ve immense respect for him for continually reinventing himself and continually being creative and productive through all the generations. ‘I mean right until the last day he was putting out music and pushing the boundaries.

‘I’m really upset by the loss of an amazing artist, whose created output was immense, his fearlessness to constantly recreate himself and keep pushing his art forward in all various forms – through his lyrics, through his music his links to fashion and the film industry.’

He describes his artistic style as ‘aerosol pointillism’ – layers of dots or marks made with a straight hand, with spheres floating around like planets or atoms in a ‘Space Oddity cosmic kind of look.’